Many people suffer from food intolerances which are different from actual food allergies but can drastically affect health and vitality. People don't realize that a severe reaction to a food, known as Coeliac disease, is not the only type of food intolerance.
Reactions caused by food intolerances may be more subtle and worsen over time. You may not even be aware that your health is far from optimal.
Symptoms of food intolerances include - sluggishness, fatigue, migraines, gastrointestinal problems especially diarrhea, inflammation & swelling.
The severe food intolerances are easily recognizable, but most physicians don't even test for food intolerances when patients complain of symptoms such as headaches, indigestion, fatigue or joint pain.
The most common food allergens are gluten, wheat, citrus, gluten in wheat, egg and soy. Less common allergens also exist and may surprise you. A patient of mine discovered that almonds contributed her digestive problems.
Many people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colitis are intolerant of grains, especially wheat. Chronic nasal or sinus congestion is often a sign of an intolerance of dairy products.
Rheumatoid arthritis may be the result of intolerances for nightshades such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, pimentos, and tobacco. It is always best to be tested for specific intolerances.
There is a blood test that checks for the presence of antibodies called immunoglobulins. The presence of IGE, one type of immunoglobulin, will cause the severe reaction of throat swelling and difficult breathing. Many labs don't test for the other types of immunoglobulins, an important one being IGG.
How do we develop food intolerances? In some cases, people are born with food intolerances.
Some develop over time as a result of poor digestion. If you don't properly digest your food, then large food particles may enter the blood stream. Your body considers these large food particles foreign objects, and will trigger the immune system to react causing antibody production.
Over time, these antibodies will have a cumulative affect causing all sorts of symptoms as described above. So healthy foods and nutrients that are not properly digested can actually make you sick.
The better you digest your food, the less likely you are to develop food intolerances. If you are on the run, chewing too fast or eating under stress you will not digest your food as well. Poor nutrition also contributes to poor digestion.
For optimal digestion:
1. Eat in a calm, relaxed, stress-free atmosphere
2. Thoroughly chew your food to break it down and mix it with the salivary enzyme, amylase
3. Eat raw foods as much as possible because they contain enzymes
4. Eat fiber as much as possible - important for proper elimination.
5. Support digestion by taking digestive enzymes, such as pancreatic enzymes, probiotics and betaine hydrochloride to increase stomach acid
6. Simple changes in lifestyle and diet can dramatically improve your health and quality of life!
I recently saw a patient who had a dramatic improvement in her energy levels after being evaluated for food intolerances and making dietary adjustments. Rita (not her real name) had been told by a doctor to eat cottage cheese and bananas for breakfast and she did this faithfully every day. A blood test showed elevated antibody levels to dairy and bananas.
Rita happily reported that just four days after stopping all dairy and bananas, she had regained her normally energetic afternoons. Her husband was thrilled that she was again able to help out with all the yard work on their 5 acres of land.